Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Determined to Open Three Negotiation Chapters with Ankara in June

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Determined to Open Three Negotiation Chapters with Ankara in June

Article excerpt

The EU confirmed on 4 June that it intends to open three new chapters in EU membership talks with Turkey in June and urged Ankara to step up democratic reforms after its legislative elections on 22 July.

"We are expecting some good news by the end of this month. We are planning and working in order to open up three chapters in June," said Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn at a press conference in Ankara on 4 June. The statement followed an EU Troika meeting between Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Rehn and Portugal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Joao Cravinho also attended the talks.

Following the turmoil of domestic political disagreement over the country's secular model, especially surrounding the elections of a new president, Turkey is now awaiting parliamentary and presidential elections. Due to the parliament's failure to elect a new president, the government submitted a constitutional amendment to elect the president by popular vote. If the bill is endorsed by current President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the election of a new head of a state might take place on 22 July, the same day as parliamentary elections. It would end the current political stalemate, which is hampering the pace of EU-oriented reforms.

The EU urged Ankara to step up the reforms that are part of Turkey's EU membership bid after the elections. …

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